Hazeldell Nature Preserve is a rare ecosystem on the Highland Rim of south-central Kentucky. It is the only state-protected site of its kind. This preserve is comprised of two distinct plant communities, including wet flatwoods and wet meadow. Despite its uniqueness, no ecological studies have been conducted on mammals in the past. Currently, two separate studies are underway on mammals. Here we present the results from the first of these that used camera traps set in the wet flatwoods community from 1 February to 28 March 2020. A total of 34,071 photos were taken with 553 having images of 12 species of mammals. The four most photographed species were eastern gray squirrel, Virginia opossum, white-footed deermouse, and white-tailed deer. These four species appeared in 91% of photos. The remaining 49 photos were of eight species including: eastern cottontail, coyote, bobcat, northern raccoon, striped skunk, southern flying squirrel, common gray fox, and eastern fox squirrel. Woodchuck and eastern chipmunk were not photographed during the study, yet each have ranges that include the preserve. These burrowers may avoid the preserve because of the secondary water table and saturated soil that occur during extended periods. The results of this study serve as baseline data for comparison to future camera trapping. Continued photo documentation will be used to identify changes in the mammal species composition of the preserve caused by species range changes in response to various factors, including habitat fragmentation and climate change.
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